Vetting Social Media Speakers

The Klout "fail" puppy is cuter than a fail whale.

If the term “human resources” is in your name, like Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it would be reasonable to expect that you know something about choosing qualified candidates for a job function. Right?

So if SHRM – or a SHRM-affiliate – is looking for a conference speaker to discuss Twitter and how it relates to employment law, it would also be reasonable to expect that the speaker is knowledgeable about, well . . . Twitter and employment law.

Am I missing something here?

I ask because SHRM, the national organization, and some SHRM affiliates, don’t seem to agree with me. They have an unusual habit of presenting employment lawyers to talk about the crossroads of law and social media, but who know nothing, or close to nothing, about social media.

I am not making this up.

I first came into personal contact with this questionable practice in March 2010, at the SHRM Legal-Legislative Conference. Better writers than I blogged about it. Since then, I have encountered the practice several times, most recently at the massive SHRM annual conference in Las Vegas. Check here and here for rants about that session. Sadly, my own state will be adding to this travesty this October, when they present a session on “Twitter and Terminations”, led by an employment lawyer who is not on Twitter, and whose entire social media presence consists of a LinkedIn profile.

This practice truly short-changes attendees. Attendees have every right to expect that a human resources organization has properly vetted their speakers and trainers, and that those people have a certain amount of expertise in the totality of their topic. This is especially true since it is so easy to search people using Google to see if they have any kind of social presence at all.

If SHRM and other organizations want to really delve into their evaluation of a speaker’s social media involvement, they can also use rating sites like Klout or PeerIndex to see how involved a speaking candidate is on social media. I am not advocating that a potential speaker has a particular rating or number, but they should at least have one.

Is that really too much to ask?

My Klout score has dropped lately, but I least I have a score!
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Google Image Search – Here’s Mine. What’s Yours?

HR pros and recruiters repeat this message constantly:  Don’t post incriminating photos of yourself anywhere on the web.  Unless, of course, you want to be incriminated.  People giving career and job seeking advice also tell you to monitor your personal brand on the web.  That means keeping tabs on what you say, and what is said about you.  I heard this lesson repeated several times by the presenters at the recently held online conference The Career  Summit.

One of the tips made at The Career Summit is to use Google Alerts.  With Google Alerts, you can choose any topic or phrase and have “alerts” sent to you anytime that name or phrase appears in the computing cloud. Experts suggest using any name or company whose brand you want to monitor, starting with your own name.  I have my name searched once a day, and results are emailed to me.

It had been a while, though, since I did a Google image search on my name to see which pictures would be found by anyone searching my name. So, in a  fit of procrastination, I did one today.   Happily, the first page of search was my familiar head-over-my-right-shoulder avatar which appears on this blog and basically everywhere else on the web my name can be found.  Here are some of the other pictures that a “Joan Ginsberg”  Google image search yields:

A picture of me at United Meat & Deli. I think I know how this got on the Web - but it wasn't by my hand.
My friend Benjamin McCall. He posted a comment after mine on a blog. Google thinks he's me. It's a good thing he is so handsome!
The famous folk singer Joan Baez
Actress Christina Hendricks, who plays a character named Joan on the TV series Mad Men. I wish I looked like her. :-)
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Joan Ginsburg. I jokingly call her my Auntie Ruth.

How about you?  What kind of images does a search of your name yield?  Show me or tell me in the comments below before December 23rd, 2010 and I will enter your name in a drawing for a $25 Starbucks card.

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